Monika in Middletown

What you are, as an Exchange Student

I was an exchange student for one year in Middletown, Delaware. But I was not only an exchange student; I was a learner, a musician, an athlete, a friend, a family member, a peer and a traveler. My year abroad began with a 5-day-camp in New York City. This was the best way to do so because I could get usedto the new time, climate and situation gradually. After establishing contacts with peoplefrom all over the world, I continued my way down the coast to meet my host family. The idea of meeting my host parents was nerve-racking but eventually, the first acquaintance was very easy. I was surprised by how I had hardly any problem to communicate, even at the beginning.After two weeks, my host sister, another exchange student from Mexico arrived. Having her in my family was one of the best things that could have happened. I did not only learn about America and its culture; I also learnt so much about Mexico. The beginning of school was hard because I was at a big school and of course I did notknow anybody. But after only a couple of weeks, everything got much easier. I met a lot of people, joined clubs and got involved in many things. American High Schools are ideal for exchange students because the academic level is usually not too high (if you don’t take the hardest classes) so you normally don’t haveto worry about grades. Additionally you get to do so manythings, especially sports, for free. I played volleyball and tennis (My doubles partner and me even made it to quarter finals of the state tournament!), I was a cheerleader (Doing something so American, filled me with joy), I participated in theInternational and Italian Club and I was a member of my school’s Jazz Band (with whom I managed to become TIA Indoor Champion!). I got to practice sports on a very high level for at least two hours aday and I met so many people.I found true friends with whom I will stay in touch. We also arranged to meet up in Paris some day and all of them have to come to Germany! Learning English was one of the main reasons why I went to America. I totally succeeded because at the end of the year some people told me that they thought that English was my native language. Being an exchange student also is a unique chance to get to have a different life, lead different conversations and seenew things. My daily life was always interesting because I got to answer many (funny) questions (no, I am not from Sweden) and I got to ask many myself.I feel like I grew up this year and I learnt more than ever before. I now have something unique that I will still be talking about in many years. I was not only an exchange student; I was myself.